Ghali Saqid, the eloquent Master of Ceremony, summed the business of the day, saying it was a reception in honor of the former governor and his supporters.
Desmond Mgboh, Kano
The rite of unification between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the former governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau and his supporters was finally concluded on Sunday evening at a grand reception in the state capital.
READ ALSO: Shekarau quits PDP
The long expected reception, for which thousands of party stalwarts, including the national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, were gathered, was conceived months ago when the former governor of the state signified his intention to leave the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the ruling party.
As is with anything to do with Mallam Shekarau, the mobilisation of supporters to grace the occasion was total. The two serving senators in the state, Alhaji Kabiru Gaya and Alhaji Barau Jibrin and a host of other celebrants, were also on hand to lend their support.
Sani Abacha Stadium, venue of the event, was filled to size with flag flying members of the party.
The organisers had broken down the sitting arrangement according to one’s local government area. In all, there were 44 sub groups in the stadium, in what was clearly a carnival. The carnival was accompanied by a display of camel-riders and an interlude of praise songs and musical performances put up by invited musicians.
By 3.30pm, the first convoy crawled into the venue of the occasion. It was received with a surge. Hundreds of party people standing in the main bowl of the stadium dashed towards the convoy, only to be disappointed that both the Kano governor and the celebrants were not in the entourage.
Later on, another convoy conveying the governor and his guests meandered its way into the stadium. It was a Coaster bus which was conveying several dignitaries, including Ganduje, his guest, Governor Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State and several high profile dignitaries. Soon after their arrival, a select number of dignitaries were invited to mount an open van, which drove them around the stadium to acknowledge cheers from the crowd.
Ghali Saqid, the very eloquent Master of Ceremony (MC), summed the business of the day, saying it was a reception in honor of the former governor and his supporters.
He gave the names of the defectors to include former governorship aspirants, two former senators among them Senator Mohammed Bello former commissioners, former legislators at the state and federal levels. He said in all, there were about 55 high profile members of the PDP, including some supporters of Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, who were crossing over.
Those who were invited to give their goodwill messages included the state party chairman, Alhaji Abdullahi Abbas, the Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Ado Doguwa and Senators Kabiru Gaya and Barau Jibrin, both of whom represent Kano North and South in the senate. Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Abubakar Badaru also spoke and took time to canvass support for President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election.
The celebrant was eventually called up to the podium. It was clear from the response of the crowd that Mallam Shekarau was still very popular in the state. At the mention of his name, the pulsating crowd responds with an ecstatic joy.
Dressed in a flowing white gown that was embroiled with the logo of the party at the chest, the former governor walked up to the podium, waving a broom in his left hand and waving by the other side, two fingers of his right hand.
Unlike Shekarau, renowned for his long and windy speeches, his remark at this occasion was brief and straight. Dotted with spices of religious interjections, he expressed gratitude to Allah for making the day a possibility.
He also expressed joy, on behalf of his supporters, at their return to the fold of the APC, while recalling that he was privileged to be a founding member of the party at its inception.
Mallam Shekarau expressed gratitude to the leadership of the party, President Buhari, governors and all other stakeholders who had embraced them in the party, assuring them all of their unflinching loyalty. He also expressed hope that the party would win all the elective positions in the forthcoming elections.
The governor of Kano State, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, also stressed the fact that his government is at peace with the traditional institution, the Ulama, youths, women and with everybody in the state.
He described APC as the greatest party in Nigeria and in the whole of Africa, saying the dream of the party in the state is not just to win elections, but to deliver the highest number of votes in the country in favour of President Buhari. He reiterated his pledge to deliver 5 million votes in favour of President Buhari in next year’s presidential election.
He further said that the party in the state is united and that it is working hard to reconcile all aggrieved members. According to him, the party is presenting 70 percent of the members of the House of Representatives, 80 percent of the senators and 95 percent of the members in the state House of Assembly for re-election, next year.
He said that a lot has been achieved by his administration, saying that some of his accomplishments are ultra-modern in nature and cannot be found anywhere in Nigeria.
The national chairman, Oshiomhole who initially spoke in Hausa language, urged
the party members to vote for the party in all elective offices even as he declared that Nigeria would never return to the hands of the opportunists.
He indirectly took on the presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, saying that, “this country does not belong to those who have a history of taking so much out of the system even as they cannot show us what they have put into the system.”
He went on: “In times like this, people are going to make promises on how they would put air condition on Federal roads, but thank God we have not found any new face. We would trace their past, we would trace what they have done and we would write the question: What would they do differently?”
He said the rally signified the coming together of progressives with a view to reinforce the power of the party to win the forthcoming election and to hold on to power for the good of the people.
He also said that President Buhari was very delighted at the fact that the progressives are uniting in Kano against the opportunists.
Oshiomhole appreciated the governor of Kano State, for his performance in the past four years, expressing optimism that if given another four years, he would transform Kano the more.